Disney Channel actress Skai Jackson is aiming to make history as one of the youngest champs in “Dancing with the Stars” history, and the 18-year-old is off to a great start. During the season premiere she showed off her flexibility and her rhythm with a tango that put her at the very top of the leaderboard. Watch it above.
Jackson played the character of Zuri Ross on “Jessie” and its followup series “Bunk’d” for a combined seven years, so she has performance experience well beyond her years, and very early in her routine with pro partner Alan Bersten she did a split that made judge Derek Hough instantly take notice. He was impressed by how clean her routine was, and Bruno Tonioli, who never met a pun he didn’t like, told her, “The sky is the limit.”
But nobody’s perfect. Both Hough and Tonioli thought she needed more bend in her knees. Carrie Ann Inaba caught that too and chalked it up to the significant height difference between her and Bersten. If she can work on better adapting to that, the sky really is the limit because even with those critiques, Jackson scored 7s across the board for a total of 21 out of 30, which tied her with actress Justina Machado for the night’s best performance.
If Jackson ends up winning the Mirror Ball Trophy, she’ll be the fourth youngest champ in the show’s history. Shawn Johnson won season eight when she was 17. Then wildlife conservationist Bindi Irwin won season 21 when she was also 17. And Laurie Hernandez set a new record in season 23 by winning at age 16. So Jackson certainly isn’t too young to take the title. And it would be the second straight win for Bersten, who won season 28 last fall with “Bachelorette” star Hannah Brown. So she’s in good hands.
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